Browsing through Facebook, a link caught my eye. It was a post entitled, 32 Nice Guys Who Need to be Stopped Immediately. As a former nice guy, I was curious to see what could go horribly wrong when “nice” guys get frustrated. By the end, I was certain that I must write this blog to communicate in writing a Message to my Daughters (MTMD).
I talked with a 20-something college student a while back. She told me about a guy–friend of a friend–who asked her for a date. She went on the date. She felt uncomfortable with the guy, and ended the date early. The guy proceeded to prophesy to her about how sad her life will be if she can’t recognize a “nice” guy when she sees one. She left him sitting in his car mid-sentence. He yelled after her, “Call me when you calm down!”
She related this story to me a day after the encounter. I assured her that she was not wrong for following her feelings. I explained that his behavior after her decision to end the date was troubling. Knowing how this story has gone in the past for other girls, I suggested that she not allow loneliness or boredom to influence her into calling the guy again.
I talked with her a week later. She had called the guy! “What happened?”
“I was feeling bored, so I called,” she admitted.
“So, was it the great cure for boredom you had hoped?” I asked.
“Not a chance,” she said. “We just ended up arguing.”
I was a bit heartbroken. At the same time, I had been proven right once again–a common occurrence it seems. It is boredom, loneliness, and unsustainable curiosity that supports unsustainable choices. These insecurities are a problem. AND, the problem is also the Jedi mind trick of polite society based in double-standards and sexist expectations of women. Some guys understand the trick’s utility, and seek to trick women into going along with the conformity.
My Counsel to My Daughters
While reading the posts from other conversations between guys and girls, I formulated some thoughts I want to make sure my daughters are not tricked. The posts from ebaumsworld.com are included for emphasis. I was especially dismayed at the language and name calling my daughters may have to endure from self-styled “nice” guys. I hope to provide counsel that communicates to my daughters that the mind-games and guilt trips attempted by the guys in the posts are desperate attempts of insecurity to capitalize on perceived insecurities. The solution is the certainty of authenticity, self-respect, integrity, and holistic sense of self.
1. Being Authentic is ALWAYS more sustainable than Being Nice
You do not owe anything to anyone. Make your choices intentionally. You can always change your mind, but never allow his bullying or anyone else’s force into your decision making process. You don’t owe any specific answer. You don’t owe a conversation. You don’t have to be polite or nice or cordial. Be you. Realize that your “mean” actions did not invite name calling. Your authentic, intentional, sustainable actions set the standard of your character and revealed his character.
2. A Compliment is never worth your Self-Respect
His or anyone’s attempts at being “nice” are to be evaluated through YOUR filter. Realize that “trying to be nice” is not the goal. Your reaction doesn’t determine the character of the other person. They were that person even prior to your interaction. You will be more fulfilled engaging with people who are authentic. You can see their intention more clearly when you are authentic. Seek authenticity rather than vain compliments. And, when compliments have an air of disrespect or inappropriateness, accept that this too is vanity. Many compliments will be trite and empty, but even compliments with more substance cannot be surrogates for true authenticity revealed in actions consistent with words.
3. YOU set Your Expectations of Your Behavior
An easy way to tell the character of a person is by listening to their expectations of you. It is NEVER appropriate for a suitor or would-be friend to make expectations of your behavior that violate your desired action. In other words, real friends support your choices. If they want you to fit into their expectations, they evidence insecurities that will continue to be a hindrance to your hope for sustainable relationship. Great relationships add to who you are, challenge you to reach higher, and support your success. But, even if you choose to go against the hopes of a real friend, they allow you your choice.
4. Trust your instincts in Relationships
If you have the feeling that you should leave, the action to take is to leave. If you have a vibe that a person is not healthy for you, the response is to distance yourself. Listen to your instincts. They are a natural way to discern through the words and the compliments and the expectations and your own wishes. If your encounter with a person making requests of you made you angry and stressed or uncomfortable, that is not a relationship to go back to after you are chill and calm. It is a relationship to be avoided. Politeness, “nice” does not apply here. As I have said, it NEVER applies. Neither does curiosity…or boredom…or loneliness.
Engage in relationships that are empowering. Be you without apology. Expect respect in each word and action. Hold your standard and expect a high standard. Trust your reason and feeling together. You will invite authenticity, respect, integrity, and holism.